Gerd's family is huge: the growth of the family probably started in Obwalden and now we are meeting - mind you only cousins (some including kids & partner) - for a cosy get-together. The table is set for 30 people. We haven't met for a long time, but the older generation, Gerd's mum and her siblings, are in lively communication (we secretly call it the Burch phone) and so we actually know a lot about each other. But there's something about a meeting "for real". (Of course, there are no pictures of it, right?).
Then, as a farewell, a cousin of Gerd's told his godchild, aged 8: "Gerd and Heike are going far away in their camper, all the way to Africa! First they have to go to the end of Europe, then they have to take the ferry and then they are in Africa! When I hear that, I shiver inside. I hadn't imagined our journey to Tunisia would be so big in the next few days. But yes, when he says it like that and I spread out the map in my mind's eye, he must be right!
What image do I have of Tunisia? All-inclusive, 2 weeks on the beach and full buffets. Then, when I buy a Tunisian travel guide in a second-hand bookshop, I realise how much more Tunisia can be. Or at least it was in 1995. For the information contained in the book dates from that year. Just like the dinar/D-mark conversion rates or the tips to take enough film for the camera, because you would hardly get ASA 100 films in Tunisia.
Gerd laughs again at my idea of starting with an ancient travel guide. But the main things like the Sahara and the capital will probably have remained the same. The one or other oasis also seems to still exist. And the "old stones" that were also excavated in Tunisia have been standing in the same place since 1995.
We leave on Sunday and between us and Tunisia there are still 1,800 km of overland route through our favourite country Italy (gnocchi, pizza, spaghetti!) or just the ferry from Genoa across the Mediterranean?
We would also like to point out that we only have ideas, not plans. So it remains exciting, at least for us.
News #1 On 24 June we will give a talk about our trip in the van in Konolfingen, Bern, Switzerland. All info and the possibility to Registration here. We look forward to seeing you!
News #2 I am currently writing a book about the encounters on our journey. If you would like to test-read a chapter or two this summer, please contact me by email.
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